Night Of The Chupacabras
by Scott Corrales (firstname.lastname@example.org) Part 1 of 2 Parts! http://www.inexplicata.com/ Inexplicata The Journal 1Of Hispanic UFOlogy
A small crowed gathered within the narrow confines of a clothign store on San Juan's Ponce de León Avenue to watch the clerks remove armfuls of crisp white t-shirts from nondescript boxes. Colorful serigraphs and silkscreened images depicting the gargoylesque paranormal predator known as El Chupacabras by the media decorated the front of each garment:
Chupacabras as lifeguard, Chupacabras as gourmet chef, Chupacabras as straw-sipping vampire. An overweight woman gently took one of the t-shirts and looked at it skeptically. "Eso no puede ser," she said aloud to no one in particular: This thing can't be.
For that was the zeitgeist in the shining star of the Caribbean in December 1995: half-hearted denial of a physical impossibility. A red-eyed nocturnal creature alleged by many to have caused the deaths of countless small animals in rural Puerto Rico since the beginning of the year. What had originally been considered the idle prattle of country cousins was now a subject of serious discussions in thoroughly urban, sophisticated San Juan. Congressmen from opposing sides of the political spectrum now proposed joint resolutions calling for a formal investigation of the problem affecting not only their constituents, but which they themselves had experienced on their country estates.
The madness would soon spread to Florida, then Mexico, then Central America...a paranormal domino theory whose reach would extend as far south as Brazil and across the wide Atlantic to Spain and Portugal. The United States, skeptical and derisive of any supernatural developments outside its borders, would also be brushed by the Chupacabras' dark wings.
Anatomy of a Paranormal Pandemic
WANTED: Chupacabras-the Goatsucker-variously described by witnesses as standing between 4 and 5 feet tall; covered in greenish brown or blackish grey fur; spindly arms ending in claws; powerful hind legs enabling it to jump over fences; a thin membrane under its arms that have been described as "wings"; glowing red eyes; has a crest of glowing appendages running down its back; estimated weight at some 100 pounds; has been known to use telepathic powers against human witnesses. Suspect is unarmed but considered dangerous. Contact your nearest police station
These descriptions, gleaned from dozens of cases in a number of countries, coincide on the details that make this aberrant being a fascinating subject for study. Here we are faced with the ultimate chimaera: a being described as being able to fly or float, but with a body/mass ratio in excess of the size of its wing-like appendages; self-luminous eyes, and perhaps most amazing of all, the resemblance of its head and eyes to that of the so-called "Greys" that have become a staple of contemporary ufology, grafted onto a tail-less, kangaroo-like body. This identikit image was made even grislier by the addition of a proboscis emanating from the creature's mouth, employed to suck the blood out of its victims.
Puerto Rico's history of animal mutilations goes back to the 1970's, when researchers Sebastián Robiou of the now-defunct CENOVNI organization looked into the depredations of the so-called "Moca Vampire", an entity whose activities began in the town of Moca's Barrio Rocha, where it killed a number of animals in a grisly fashion never seen before. Fifteen cows, three goats, two geese and a pig were found dead with strange puncture marks on their hides, indicating that some sharp object-natural or artificial-had been inserted into the hapless bovines. Autopsy reports invariably showed that not a single drop of blood remained within the animals, as if it had been consumed by some predator. Police officers were adamant about ascribing the deaths to dogs, since they correctly believed that not even the wildest of feral dogs could climb some of the fences surrounding the dead animals' pens.
On March 7, 1975, a cow belonging to Rey Jiménez was found dead in Moca's Barrio Cruz, presenting deep, penetrating wounds on its skull and a number of scratches around the wounds on its body. Jiménez's cow was added to the growing list of victims, which now totalled well over thirty.
As the number of victims grew exponentially, the Moca Vampire acquired an identity of its own, much in the same way that the Chupacabras would twenty years later. Speculation as to its nature was rife: many believed it was a supernatural "bird", like the one seen by María Acevedo, a Moca resident who noticed that a strange animal had landed on her home's zinc rooftop in the middle of the night. According to Acevedo's testimony, the bird pecked at the rusty rooftop and at the windows before taking flight, issuing a terrifying scream.
The UFO phenomenon did not wait excessively long before manifesting itself in the dark skies over Moca: on March 12, 1975, Luis Torres, together with his son and daughter-in-law, witnessed an object which resembled "the lights on a police cruiser" spinning in the night on the outskirts of town. Torres and his family estimated that the object had been engaged in an overflight of the fields in which mutilated animals were being found. A few days later, on March 15, farmer Cecilio Hern ndez notified authorities that the elusive Moca Vampire had slain thirty -four chickens on his property at some point during the night. The supernatural entity was by now responsible for ninety animal deaths in a two week period.
A false moment of hope marked this critical period in the Moca crisis:
Luis Torres, the same farmer who had reported seeing a UFO over Moca's outlying regions, became the man of the hour after slaying two enormous snakes (Puerto Rican boas) measuring an unheard-of six-foot length. Torres had captured the creatures as they stood ready to attack a 600-pound heifer. The media hailed this act of heroism as the "solution to the mutilation riddle"; citizens could finally issue a collective sigh of relief.
However, the Moca Vampire had its own agenda. On March 18, 1975, two goats belonging to Hector Vega, a resident of Moca's Barrio Pueblo, were found drained of blood. Puncture marks on the
goats' necks were the unmistakable sign that the strange creature causing the deaths was still at large and hungrier than ever: it returned to Vega's farm the following night to finish off ten more goats and wound another seven. The horrified farmer also discovered that ten additional goats had gone missing.
It was this last spree of vampiristic activity that finally prompted official action in the form of a visit from the Senate Agricultural Commission, led by Senator Miguel A. Deynes, Police colonel Samuel López and a number of functionaries. After talking to the affected parties and to local law enforcement officials, Senator Deynes requested that Astol Toledo, the Superintendent of Police "redouble his efforts in getting to the bottom of the situation," as there was no doubt in his mind that no animal could cause so many deaths. (In yet another curious parallel between the Moca Vampire and the Chupacabras of the nineties, the Superintendent of Police 20 years later would be Pedro Toledo).
Supporters of the "killer snake" theory which had gained adherents in the wake of Luis Torres' exploits had their hopes dashed yet again by Dr . Juan Rivero, a Mayagüez-based herpetologist who stated in no uncertain terms that the Puerto Rican boa, a non-poisonous reptile, was physically incapable of killing animals as large as a goat, much less a cow. The herpetologist added that snakes' mouths were not adapted to suck blood.
Felix Badillo could not believe his eyes when, on the morning of March 23, 1975, he found a ten pound piglet dead in it pen. The tiny porker was missing an ear and had a sizeable hole on the side of its head. Badillo was haunted by the fact that such a thing could have happened to one of his animals, since his fierce watchdog had neither barked nor growled during the night and there was no sign of a struggle. The pig farmer was hardly comforted by the expert opinion of Dr. Angel de la Sierra, a specialist with the University of Puerto Rico, who noted that the cut on the piglet's ear stump was similar to certain incisions made in experimental surgery to study deafness.
The Moca Vampire had apparently tired of its diet and was ready for a new treat. At ten o'clock at night on March 25, laborer Juan Muñiz was allegedly attacked by a "horrible creature covered in feathers," as he would later describe it. Muñiz was returning home to Moca's Barrio Pulido when he saw the unsightly entity. The laborer threw stones at the creature to frighten it away, but only managed to provoke its anger: the creature flew toward him, prompting Muñiz to seek shelter behind some bushes before running to a neighbor's house. An armed group of locals sought to find the strange being, but no trace was found.
By April 1975, the "vampire" had transcended the narrow confines of Moca , embarking on an island-wide spree of animal killings. Among its first depredations outside the San Juan metropolitan area was the slaying of a pig on a farm belonging to one Benigno Lozada in Guaynabo, P.R.. Meanwhile, an all-out effort to apprehend the suspected human element behind the mutilations had been set into motion by the police, while on the other hand, the media bent over backward to find a "rational" or "scientific" explanation that would dismiss the strong supernatural air surrounding the unknown predator. When some "odd bats" were discovered in a limestone cave near Moca, hope welled in newsrooms throughout the island. However, it was soon pointed out that the bats were in fact of the ordinary kind, who live on fruit and do not attack animals.
On April 2, the predator paid a visit to a farm owned by Isauro Melgar in Corozal's Barrio Negro. The Moca Vampire killed eight goats and a dozen rabbits on the property. This loss was particularly painful for the small farmer, since the breeding rabbits had been quite valuable.
Fearing that the unknown creature would stage a return on the following evening, Melgar mounted a watch all night, spreading poison on the ground to eliminate whatever it was seemed interested in his bunnies. Joined by a group of armed neighbors, Melgar kept watch until three in the morning. The moment the men disbanded, whatever it was returned with a vengeance to slay more animals. This only strengthened the farmers' determination to remain awake all night, if need be.
At half past midnight on April 5th, Isauro Melgar and his companions were startled by a deafening sound which suddenly blanketed the otherwise silent countryside. Amid the unearthly din, the farmers saw a shadowy figure running swiftly through the trees, away from an open pasture. They would later discover that four more goats had been slain. Stoical despite of his losses, Melgar told the press that "whatever killed my goats was definitely not human. I don't believe in vampires, of course, but I really can't say what kind of creature killed my animals."
Two months into the Moca Vampire scare, official declarations began appearing in the media and in government communiqués. Dr. Benedicto Negrón, a veterinarian for the Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture, noted that "the situation was a concern" to his agency, expressing a fear that the uncanny events might unleash hysteria among the population . In an April 9, 1975 editorial, the now-defunct El Mundo ran an editorial requesting greater leadership from the government in solving the bizarre mutilations.
As would be the case with the Chupacabras in 1995, the majority of the Moca Vampire's attacks occured at night or in the early pre-dawn hours. In a number of cases, the owner was awakened by squealing sounds, fluttering noises, buzzing or even deafening roars. Those cases in which eyewitnesses managed to see the perpertrator usually described it as a weird bird or as a dog-like creature.
Animal deaths appeared to be produced by the unknown entity's puncturing organ or instrument, which destroyed tissue, internal organs and bone as it entered the animal. These puncture marks were ¼" wide in most cases
Puerto Rican ufologist Willie Durand Urbina offers information concering the mini-wave of animal mutilations which took place in the early 1990's , prior to the appearance of the Chupacabras. The events began in March 1991 and centered around the Lares, P.R. area: residents of Barrio Pezuelas filed complaints with the police regarding the deaths of pigs, geese, chickens and other animals whose carcasses presented fang marks on their throats and had been completely drained of blood. Many of the animal owners told the police that they had seen "a strange animal" hiding in the exhuberant vegetation of the hillside; some eyewitnesses described the alleged perpetrator as an ape, while others insisted that it was much larger in size than a normal dog, and completely black in color. However, Wilfedo Cubero, a director of the Cuerpo de Investigación Criminal or CIC, insisted that no notice of these cases had ever been given to his agency. Nor had any specimens of the mutilated animals been collected by official agencies for formal autopsy purposes. When nine pigs were found exanguinated near the outskirts of Camuy, on the Atlantic shore, Civil Defense Director Aníbal Román would summarily dismiss the case as "the handiwork of a hungry dog."
The benign neglect of the authorities prompted the affected citizenry to take matters into their own hands: like extras from a horror movie wandering through the night with torches, the residents of Barrio Pezuelas armed themselves with clubs and went out to find and liquidate the "vampire" bent on destroying their livestock. Fear spread across the mountainous rural area. Children were forbidden by their elders to walk alone along the country roads or to be out of their homes after seven o'clock at night.
Héctor Colón, a public school teacher, would soon become the spokesman for the terrified residents of Barrio Pezuelas. Himself a farmer, he appeared on radio shows and in newspaper features to stress that the situation experienced by his community was highly unusual. "I'm a farmer and can tell you that these deaths are abnormal," he declared on a radio interview on Lares radio station WGDL on April 4, 1991. He went on to describe the finding of a large boar that very morning which had been completely drained of blood and sported fang-marks on its neck. The aggrieved locals soon began accusing the police of not wanting to look into the matter so as to avoid presenting reports on the high strangeness deaths.
As spring turned imperceptibly to summer, the vampiric activity moved from Lares to Aguada on the Mona Channel, the body of water separating Puerto Rico from the island of Hispaniola. Planters and livestock owners of that community's Barrio Lagunas began experiencing losses in June 1991 to a predator equally in killing animals as in tearing banana trees apart to feed on their succulent tender hearts. The island media soon christened the beast "Comecogollos"-the Banana-Tree Eater.
The jocose moniker did nothing to assuage the fiend's temper. Frightened eyewitnesses described it as a manlike, hairy creature weighing some sixty pounds, strong enough to kill a dog and a goat and tear its way through plantain groves. Manuel Rivera, a planter and businessman in Lagunas, complained to the press that not a single government agency had paid attention to the matter, and that the police refused to respond to calls involving the strange creature. A number of goats slain by the hairy being had to be buried when no official agency turned up to perform autopsies.
In July 1991, officialdom began having a change of heart. Juan Morales, Regional Director of the Civil Defense for the Arecibo area, indicated that the persistence of animal deaths and creature sightings merited careful investigation, while at the same time hesitating to venture any opinions as to their possible cause. The cause of his about-face was almost certainly the unexplained slaying of twenty goats in the Quebradas Sector of Camuy. The twenty lifeless animals all had the same fang-marks on their throats and had been drained of blood.
Their interest had come about too late. By the time elements of the Civil Defense had reported to Quebradas, the dead goats were too far along the decomposition process to subject their carcasses to scientific analysis. But the startling admission that none of the goats had been slain by dogs was made by the same Regional Civil Defense office.
To cap off the high-strangeness events of 1991, government agencies on the offshore island of Culebra, to the west of Puerto Rico, found themselves faced with the appearance of a "mystery cat"-a one hundred and fifty pound feline, grey in color-seen by personnel of the Natural Resources Department and of the Conservation and Development Agency on Culebra's Playa Flamingo. The authorities confessed their bewilderment at how a large feline could have appeared "out of thin air" . The outcome of their efforts was never made known to the public.
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